Archive for the ‘ ~2 to 3 Miles~ ’ Category

Millville Lock/Triad Bridge – Millville

 

This walk follows the old railroad bed of the Boston and Hartford Railroad easterly to the Blackstone River from the parking area on the corner of Central and Hope Streets. Just recently this stretch has been paved and is now part of the newly opened Blackstone Greenway Bike Path. The old rail bed is flanked by trees and shrubs as it passes a residential neighborhood. At the sitting bench just beyond the mid way point of this walk is a set of wooden stairs that leads to the trail that winds down to the former Blackstone Canal along the river. Just to the left is a small footbridge that crosses Angelique Brook to the lock. The large stones that make the lock were put in place in the late 1820’s when the Blackstone Canal was being built. The lock served as a point where water levels could be controlled for the passage of barges along the canal. The Millville Lock is the most preserved along the stretch of the Blackstone River. Continuing back to the bike path and turning left you will soon come to a bridge that crosses the Blackstone River. After crossing the bridge turn around and take a good look around. To the left and slightly above is a towering concrete support of a bridge that was never built. That support, along with one behind your right shoulder and below in the river to your left were built to carry the Grand Trunk Rail over the Blackstone River. The president of that company died on the RMS Titanic in April of 1912. Though construction continued for several more years, plans for the railroad were scraped and the bridge was never built. Ahead, the bridge you just crossed, was the rail bridge that served as Boston and Hartford Railroads Southern New England Trunkline. Today it is used partly as the Blackstone River Greenway and also as a trail that runs from the state line at Thompson, Connecticut and runs easterly to Franklin. And finally, below and to the right you will see the Providence and Worcester Railroad bridge that crosses the river. That bridge is still in active use by trains. At one time in the early 20th century it was intended that three railroad bridges would cross the Blackstone River at the same spot, hence earning its name, Triad Bridge. At this point you are approximately a mile from the parking lot. For this walk return along the bike path back to your car, or you can add several more miles of walking by continuing east. The bike path continues about another mile and a half to its easterly terminus in Blackstone.

 

Trail map can be found at: Millville Lock

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Panoramic of the Triad Bridge

Shelter Harbor – Westerly

  • Shelter Harbor Conservation Forest
  • Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: May 4, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Fairly easy, slight elevation. Roots and rocky in places.

 

This wonderful, lesser known forest tucked away in Westerly offers quite a bit. There are four blazed trails (blue, yellow, red, and white) that wind though the woods crossing gently flowing streams. In fact there are several stream crossings along the route of the hike. There is also an old dam that once formed a reservoir for the nearby neighborhoods drinking water supply. Today, it serves as a piece of local history and yesteryear’s craftsmanship. This property also offers several large rocks and boulders. The property is not open to the public unless a guided walk is given. The Westerly Land Trust offers walks every Thursday morning from the autumn to the spring. On occasion they will lead a hike on this property.

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The Old Dam at Shelter Harbor

Middletown Southern Loop – Middletown

  • Middletown Southern Loop – Sakonnet Greenway
  • Wyatt Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°31’18.65″N, 71°16’0.33″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 2, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Part of the Sakonnet Greenway Trails, the Middletown Southern Loop is the southern most of three loop trails of the Greenway. The well marked yellow blazed trail winds around the edges of large open fields and through areas of woods. It also follows the edge of the Wyatt Road Soccer Complex as well making its way through Newport Vineyards property. The loop trail, mostly grass paths, is flanked in several areas by thick brush, a haven for birds. The trail also crosses a couple streams and passes small ponds. The trail tends to be a little muddy after heavy rain but otherwise is very easy on the feet as it is well maintained.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Middletown Southern Loop

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Along The Middletown Southern Loop.

Underwoods Pond – Burrillville

  • Underwoods Pond – George Washington Management Area
  • Olney Keach Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°57’10.13″N, 71°44’46.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 14, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.9 miles
  • Moderate.

 

The roads less traveled, literally. The George Washington Management Area is known for its miles and miles of hiking trails, but in the extreme eastern section of the area are the roads less traveled. For this hike we ventured out to complete a loop of the gravel roads behind Grace Note Farm and a quick visit to a lesser known pond. The first challenge of this hike was parking as there is no designated parking spots. The spot I chose is about three tenths of a mile along Olney Keach Road, a very bumpy and rocky road, at the intersection of the Richardson Trail. There is a small spot here to pull over and park. If you choose to park either here or along Jackson Schoolhouse Road be sure not to block any of the intersections and stay well to the edge of the road. From our parking spot we hiked southerly along Olney Keach Road passing the first of many small babbling brooks. The rocky dirt road then climbed uphill before coming to an intersection. Here we turned right onto Ross Trail. Soon we passed a red gate and entered the management area. We passed some more small streams and brooks before coming to an open sandy area. Continue ahead and the trail becomes more defined. Soon another intersection appears. The trail to the right leads to the Richardson Trail. Continue ahead here and the trail will turn to the south and climb up and over two impressive hills before ending. Near the top of the hills are areas of low ground cover and shrubs ideal for birds. In fact, we caught a glimpse of a woodpecker near the end of the Ross Trail. If you were to turn right at the end of the trail you would soon cross the orange blazed Walkabout Trail, but for this hike turn left and follow the Center Trail east to its intersection with Olney Keach Road. Along the way you will pass more small streams and a boulder field to the right. When reaching Olney Keach Road stay to the right for now. The road to your left you will use to get back to the car, but first you will want to see Underwoods Pond. Following Olney Keach Road south for a few hundred yards you will soon come upon a small wood bridge and a deep freshwater pond to the right. This spot makes for a good break as the sound of running water over a small dam makes for a soothing sound. From here retrace your steps north along the road and continuing straight along Olney Keach Road. You will notice a house to the right. This is private property and please respect that. The friendly owner did greet us though and told us to enjoy ourselves on our hike. Next we passed the Ross Trail on the left made our way downhill and back to the car. There are no hiking blazes along these trails, but there are several markers on trees and flagging presumably from horse back riders from the nearby Grace Note Farm, hunters, and cyclists. Hunting is allowed here so orange clothing is required during hunting season. It is advisable to use GPS while hiking in this area.

 

Trail map can be found at: Underwoods Pond

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Underwoods Pond

River Bend Farm – Uxbridge

  • River Bend Farm – Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park
  • Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 5’38.86″N, 71°37’25.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 22, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The big red barn and the wooden bridge over the canal are one of New England’s best known sights. In the barn, once part of a diary farm, is a rather impressive visitors center that has exhibits that explain the history of the area. For this hike, the second of four planned here, we followed the towpath from the covered bridge south to the Stanley Woolen Mill. The towpath follows the canal that was once used to transport goods from Worcester to Providence along the banks of the Blackstone River. Before taking this walk obtain a pamphlet (the one with the numbers in it) at the visitor center and take it with you. Along the walk you will find signposts with corresponding numbers on them. Be sure to take a peek at the river it self. This section of the towpath is a little over a mile long one way, flat, and is suitable for walkers and strollers.

 

Trail maps can be found at: River Bend Farm

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Towpath Along The Canal

Hayfield – Foster

  • Hayfield Property
  • Winsor Road, Foster, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°50’25.24″N, 71°43’46.86″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 10, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Just opposite pole number 54 along Winsor Road, is the trailhead to one of Foster Land Trust’s newest blazed trail systems. The property consists of three blazed trails, the yellow blazed Hayfield Trail, the blue blazed Pasture Trail, and the aptly named orange blazed Rocky Trail. The property also has several unmarked trails that reach into the nearby D.E.M. Property. The ruins of a mill and the nearby stone walls are a highlight near the Ponagansett River. There is also a large open field among the forest of maples, oaks, and beech trees scattered with boulders. Hunting is allowed on nearby properties, wearing orange is advisable during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Hayfield

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Ponagansett River

Matteson Plain – Exeter/West Greenwich

  • Matteson Plain – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Matteson Plain Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°35’53.32″N, 71°42’37.66″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Moderate.

 

This hike, relatively short in distance, can be quite challenging due to footing. Starting from a parking area near the end of Frosty Hollow Road (Straight ahead as Frosty Hollow Road ends at Austin Farm Road), first pass the gate and then head north on Matteson Plain Road. The first mile of this hike climbs uphill, into West Greenwich, on the old road that is predominantly loose stone and gravel passing Newman Trail on the right. Along the way on the left you will notice several “No Trespassing” signs. This is the Camp-E-Hunt-Tee property and is not open to the public. At the top of the hill (around the one mile mark) you will notice yellow blazes indicating a turn to the right. Follow the yellow blazes. This is part of the Breakheart Trail and will lead you to the Newman Trail. This segment is all down hill and tends to be a little rocky. It is much easier footing than the first mile. Stay on the yellow blazed trail when you come to the trail crossing at the small footbridge. Ahead you will see some stone walls and eventually a trickling brook. The yellow blazed Breakheart Trail turns left at the north end of Breakheart Pond. Take a quick peek. It is a nice view, but you will be turning right here (west) onto Newman Trail. Now heading west you will first pass the Hicks Trail to the left, continue straight. You will soon pass another trail from the right, again continue straight. Soon you will see a hill ahead of you. There should be a trail to your left here. Turn left and take it. It is unmarked, lesser traveled, and leads through a beautiful fern covered forest back into Exeter and to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Matteson Plain

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Matteson Plain Road at Breakheart Trail